7 Tips to Overcome Fear of Failure in Sports
After every Olympics, world and regional championships, the world applauds the winners and they get to share the limelight in the media for a long time. There are thousands of others who narrowly miss a bronze medal and still others who don’t reach anywhere near victory.
Even winners are under tremendous stress as the world expects more from them each time. Your sponsorships, participation in future events and motivation to work harder depend on winning.
Here are 7 tips to overcome fear of failure in sports
1. Focus on the Present and Target
If you worry about what is going to happen after the event, you can’t focus on the present or your performance. Don’t get distracted by the competition, the spectators or how your friends, family members will assess you after the performance.
Arjuna, in the famous Indian epic Mahabharatha, when asked by his guru what he sees in the tree, replied 'the target Mango' while others said leaves, birds, sky etc. Keep your mind focused on the target.
2. Understand the Cause of Fear
With the help of your coach or mentor, you can find out the underlying cause of your fear and work jointly to overcome it. It could be an embarrassment, fear of losing, failure to live up to expectations, making mistakes, rejection or disapproval, or losing career and future opportunities.
3. Ensure Adequate Practice and Fitness
Once an event is announced, fix a timetable for daily routines and special training. Ask your coach to assess daily progress and shortcomings, and learn how to overcome them. Too much practice may cause stress on your muscles and joints, not making you perform at your full potential.
4. Have Good Nutrition
Sportsmen and athletes need to have a balanced diet as per the caloric requirements for the game. Less or more intake can ruin your metabolism and make you less fit for the event. When you are healthy, you will be more confident to focus on the game than worrying about winning.
5. Yoga, Meditation and Prayer
If you can assemble your team members and have daily prayers, meditation and Yoga together, it will help control your breathing, clear your mind of clutters, negative thoughts and make you feel good. You will feel lighter in body and mind, thereby ready to take on any tough competition.
6. Visualise Your Success, Write Affirmations
Everytime a negative thought comes to you mind, dismiss it by visualizing yourself standing on the victory podium or reaching the finishing point first. Visualise the applause and the excitement that come with being a winner. Writing positive affirmations can help make an imprint on your subconscious mind even as your conscious mind may be thinking of failure.
7. Learn from Successful Sports People
Knowledge is power. Find out how successful athletes overcame their fear of failure and how they learnt it. There are articles, ebooks, books written by winners about how they overcame adversities and how hard work and determination played a part in their success. Or you could have a chat with winners about the strategies they adopted and they will be more than willing to share their experiences.
Winning in sports is a combination of strength, stamina, hard work, determination, skill, talent, training and getting the right opportunity. If you are worrying about mistakes you commit or failure, you don’t get the time to practice physically and mentally for the event. Don’t be a slave to your negative thoughts but help positive thoughts to take the upper hand. Set small goals and try to achieve them in daily practice. You are on your way to victory, if not today, very soon.